Nick Faust came out of Baltimore with a reputation as a great outside shooter, perhaps the most pure shooter to go to Maryland since Mike Jones.
That was how new coach Mark Turgeon was going to use the 6-6 guard, until Pe'Shon Howard broke his foot in preseason workouts and Terrell Stoglin quickly proved he was better off the ball than running the point.
It hasn't been the easiest transition for the former City star, but Faust has shown through Maryland's first five games that he's capable of doing more than just shooting.
In fact, Faust's poor shooting (10-for-38 overall, 3-for-16 on 3s) is at least partly attributable to the fact that he's being asked to run the point and often has to play shut-down defender on the other team's best scorer.
"It's definitely a big thing for me trying to lead the team in a big role, playing a big position," Faust said before practice Monday as the 3-2 Terps got ready for Tuesday night's game against Illinois (6-0) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Comcast Center.
Faust admits that he hasn't played this much point since he was "10 or 11" when he was a member of Carlton "Bub" Carrington's Mount Royal Eagles AAU team.
"It was hard at first, I'm starting to get the hang of it now, start getting into the flow of things," said Faust, who has also struggled from the free throw line, making only 11 of 21. "I'm just trying to do whatever to help us win. ... I try to set up Terrell [Stoglin] and Sean [Mosley]. They're shooting very well from the field. That's kind of my first objective."
Faust has filled his stat sheet in nearly every category: he leads the Terps in assists with 13, but also in turnovers with 14. He is also first in steals (7), third in minutes played (30 per game) and fourth in rebounding (4.2). He has had several of the team's best breakaway dunks -- typically one-handed tomahawks.
Faust does not seem concerned about his early-season shooting woes.
"Just me getting up more shots [in practice and on my own]," Faust said. "Just got to get in the flow of things and get it going."
He seems to be over the cramps and other dehydration issues that plagued him in the preseason. He said that conditioning has been the biggest adjustment from high school to college.
"You can't get winded. You've just got to keep pushing through," he said. "That's definitely one of the biggest challenges."
Faust said he was looking forward to his first big nationally televised game as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"I like that. Big lights, big stage," Faust said with a smile.